"I do assure you, sir," said Sancho, "that herein you shall be most punctually obeyed, because I am by nature a quiet and peaceful man, and have a strong dislike to thrusting myself into quarrels."
Whilst they spoke thus, two friars of the order of St. Benedict, mounted on large mules—big enough to be dromedaries—appeared coming along the road. They wore travelling masks to keep the dust out of their eyes and carried large sun umbrellas. After them came a coach with four or five a-horseback travelling with it, and two lackeys ran hard by it. In the coach was a Biscayan lady who was going to Seville. The friars were not of her company, though all were going the same way.
Scarcely had Don Quixote espied them than he exclaimed to his squire: "Either I much mistake, or this should be the most famous adventure that hath ever been seen; for those dark forms that loom yonder are doubtless enchanters who are carrying off in that coach some princess they have stolen. Therefore I must with all my power undo this wrong."
"This will be worse than the adventure of the windmills," said Sancho. "Do you not see that they are Benedictine friars, and the coach will belong to some people travelling?"
"I have told thee already, Sancho," answered Don Quixote, "that thou art very ignorant in the matter of adventures. What I say is true, as thou shalt see."
So saying he spurred on his horse, and posted himself in the middle of the road along which the friars were coming, and when they were near enough to hear him he exclaimed in a loud voice: "Monstrous and horrible crew! Surrender this instant those exalted princesses, whom you are carrying away in that coach, or prepare to receive instant death as a just punishment of your wicked deeds."
The friars drew rein, and stood amazed at the figure and words of Don Quixote, to whom they replied: "Sir knight, we are neither monstrous nor wicked, but two religious men, Benedictines, travelling about our business, and we know nothing about this coach or about any princesses."
"No soft words for me," cried Don Quixote, "for I know you well, treacherous knaves."
And without waiting for their reply he set spurs to Rozinante; and laying his lance on his thigh, charged at the first friar with such fury and rage, that if he had not leaped from his mule he would have been slain, or at least, badly wounded.
The second friar, seeing the way his companion was treated, made no words but fled across the country swifter than the wind itself.
Sancho Panza, on seeing the friar overthrown, dismounted very speedily off his ass and ran over to him, and would have stripped him of his clothes, But two of the friars' servants came up and asked him why he was thus despoiling their master. Sancho replied that it was his due by the law of arms, as lawful spoils gained in battle by his lord and master, Don Quixote.
The lackeys, who knew nothing of battles or spoils, seeing that Don Quixote was now out of the way, speaking with those that were in the coach, set both at once upon Sancho and threw him down, plucked every hair out of his beard and kicked and mauled him without mercy, leaving him at last stretched on the ground senseless and breathless.
As for the friar, he mounted again, trembling and terror-stricken, all the colour having fled from his face, and spurring his mule, he joined his companion, who was waiting for him hard by.
While this was happening, Don Quixote was talking to the lady in the coach, to whom he said: "Dear lady, you may now dispose of yourself as you best please. For the pride of your robbers is laid in the dust by this my invincible arm. And that you may not pine to learn the name of your deliverer, know that I am called Don Quixote of the Mancha, knight-errant, adventurer, and captive of the peerless and beauteous Lady Dulcinea of Toboso. And in reward for the benefits you have received at my hands, I demand nothing else but that you return to Toboso, there to present yourself in my name before my lady, and tell her what I have done to obtain your liberty."
All this was listened to by a Biscayan squire who accompanied the coach. He hearing that the coach was not to pass on but was to return to Toboso, went up to Don Quixote, and, laying hold of his lance, said to him: "Get away with thee, sir knight, for if thou leave not the coach I will kill thee as sure as I am a Biscayan."
"If," replied Don Quixote haughtily, "thou wert a gentleman, as thou art not, I would ere this have punished thy folly and insolence, caitiff creature."
"I no gentleman?" cried the enraged Biscayan. "Throw down thy lance and draw thy sword, and thou shalt soon see that thou liest."
"That shall be seen presently," replied Don Quixote; and flinging his lance to the ground he drew his sword, grasped his buckler tight, and rushed at the Biscayan.
The Biscayan, seeing him come on In this manner, had nothing else to do but to draw his sword. Luckily for him he was near the coach, whence he snatched a cushion to serve him as a shield, and then they fell on one another as if they had been mortal enemies.
Those that were present tried to stop them, but the Biscayan shouted out that if he were hindered from ending the battle he would put his lady and all who touched him to the sword.
The lady, amazed and terrified, made the coachman draw aside a little, and sat watching the deadly combat from afar.
The Biscayan, to begin with, dealt Don Quixote a mighty blow over the target, which, if it had not been for his armour, would have cleft him to the waist. Don Quixote, feeling the weight of this tremendous blow which had destroyed his visor and carried away part of his ear, cried out aloud: "O Dulcinea, lady of my soul, flower of all beauty, help thy knight, who finds himself in this great danger!" To say this, to raise his sword, to cover himself with his buckler, and to rush upon the Biscayan was the work of a moment. With his head full of rage he now raised himself in his stirrups, and, gripping his sword more firmly in his two hands, struck at the Biscayan with such violence that he caught him a terrible blow on the cushion, knocking this shield against his head with tremendous violence. It was as though a mountain had fallen on the Biscayan and crushed him, and the blood spouted from his nose and mouth and ears. He would have fallen straightway from his mule if he had not clasped her round the neck; but he lost his stirrups, then let go his arms, and the mule, frightened at the blow, began to gallop across the fields, so that after two or three plunges it threw him to the ground.
Don Quixote leaped off his horse, ran towards him, and setting the point of his sword between his eyes, bade him yield, or he would cut off his head.
The lady of the coach now came forward in great grief and begged the favour of her squire's life.
Don Quixote replied with great stateliness: "Truly, fair lady, I will grant thy request, but it must be on one condition, that this squire shall go to Toboso and present himself in my name to the peerless Lady Dulcinea, that she may deal with him as she thinks well."
The lady, who was in great distress, without considering what Don Quixote required, or asking who Dulcinea might be, promised that he should certainly perform this command.
"Then," said Don Quixote, "on the faith of that pledge I will do him no more harm."
Seeing the contest was now over, and his master about to remount Rozinante, Sancho ran to hold his stirrups, and before he mounted, taking him by his hand he kissed it and said: "I desire that it will please you, good my lord Don Quixote, to bestow on me the government of that island which in this terrible battle you have won."
To which Don Quixote replied: "Brother Sancho, these are not the adventures of islands, but of cross roads, wherein nothing is gained but a broken pate or the loss of an ear. Have patience awhile, for the adventures will come whereby I can make thee not only a governor, but something higher."
Sancho thanked him heartily, and kissed his hand again and the hem of his mailed shirt. Then he helped him to get on Rozinante, and leaped upon his ass to follow him.
And Don Quixote, without another word to the people of the coach, rode away at a swift pace and turned into a wood that was hard by, leaving Sancho to follow him as fast as his beast could trot.
DON QUIXOTE AND THE GOATHERDS
Retold by Judge Parry
As they rode along, Don Quixote turned to his squire and said to him: "Tell me now in very good earnest, didst thou ever see a more valorous knight than I am throughout the face of the earth? Didst thou ever read in histories of any other that hath or ever had more courage in fighting, more dexterity in wounding, or more skill in overthrowing?"
"The truth is," replied Sancho, "that I have never read any history whatever, for I can neither read nor write. But what I dare wager is, that I never in my life served a bolder master than you are, and I only trust that all this boldness does not land us within the four walls of the gaol."
"Peace, friend Sancho," said Don Quixote, "when didst thou read of a knight-errant that was brought before the judge though he killed ever so many people?"
"I have read nothing, as you know, good master; but a truce to all this, let me attend to your wound, for you are losing a good deal of blood in that ear, and I have got some lint and a little white ointment in my wallet."
"That," said Don Quixote, "would have been unnecessary if I had remembered to make a bottleful of the balsam of Fierabras, for with only one drop of it both time and medicines are saved."
"What balsam is that, then?" asked Sancho Panza.
"It is a balsam, the receipt of which I have in my memory, and whoever possesses it need not fear death nor think to perish by any wound. Therefore after I have made it and given it unto thee, thou hast nothing else to do but when thou shalt see that in any battle I be cloven in twain, than deftly to take up the portion of the body which is fallen to the ground and put it up again on the half which remains in the saddle, taking great care to fix it exactly in the right place. Then thou shalt give me two draughts of the balsam I have mentioned, and I shall become as sound as an apple."
"If that be true," said Sancho, "I renounce from now the government of the promised island, and will demand nothing else in payment of my services but only the receipt of this precious liquor. But tell me, is it costly in making?"
"With less than three reals" said Don Quixote, "a man may make three gallons of it. But I mean to teach thee greater secrets than this, and do thee greater favours also. And now let me dress my wound, for this ear pains me more than I would wish."
Sancho took out of his wallet his lint and ointment to cure his master. But before he could use them Don Quixote saw that the visor of his helmet was broken, and he had like to have lost his senses. Setting his hand to his sword, he cried: "I swear an oath to lead the life which was led by the great Marquis of Mantua when he swore to revenge the death of his nephew Baldwin, which was not to eat off a tablecloth, nor to comb his hair, nor to change his clothes, nor to quit his armour, and other things which, though I cannot now remember, I take as said, until I have had complete revenge on him that hath done this outrage."
"Look, your worship, Sir Don Quixote." said Sancho, when he heard these strange words, "you must note that if the Biscayan has done what you told him, and presented himself before my Lady Dulcinea of Toboso, then he has fully satisfied his debt, and deserves no other penalty unless he commits a new fault."
"Thou hast spoken well and hit the mark truly," answered Don Quixote; "and, therefore, in respect of that, I set the oath aside. But I make it and confirm it again, that I will lead the life I have said, until I take by force another helmet as good as this from some other knight."
"Such oaths are but mischief," said Sancho discontentedly, "for tell me now, if by chance we do not come across a man armed with a helmet, what are we to do? Do but consider that armed men travel not these roads, but only carriers and waggoners, who not only wear no helmets, but never heard them named all the days of their life."
"Thou art mistaken in this," said Don Quixote, "for we shall not have been here two hours before we shall see more knights than went up against Albraca to win Angelica the Fair."
"So be it," said Sancho, "and may all turn out well for us, that the time may come for the winning of that island which is costing me so dear."
"Have no fear for thine island, Sancho Panza," said Don Quixote; "and now look if thou hast aught to eat in thy wallet, for soon we should go in search of some castle where we may lodge the night and make the balsam of which I have spoken, for in truth this ear of mine pains me greatly."
"I have got here an onion and a bit of cheese and a few crusts of bread, but such coarse food is not fit for so valiant a knight as your worship."
"How little dost thou understand the matter," replied Don Quixote, "for it is an honour to knights-errant not to eat more than once a month, and if by chance they should eat, to eat only of that which is next at hand! And all this thou mightest have known hadst thou read as many books as I have done. For though I studied many, yet did I never find that knights-errant did ever eat but by mere chance, or at some costly banquets that were made for them. And the remainder of their days they lived on herbs and roots. Therefore, friend Sancho, let not that trouble thee which is my pleasure, for to a knight-errant that which comes is good."
"Pardon me, sir," said Sancho, "for since I can neither read nor write, as I have already told you, I have not fallen in rightly with the laws of knighthood. But from henceforth my wallet shall be furnished with all sorts of dried fruits for your worship, because you are a knight, and for myself, seeing I am none, I will provide fowls and other things, which are better eating."
So saying he pulled out what he had, and the two fell to dinner in good peace and company.
But being desirous to look out for a lodging for that night, they cut short their meagre and sorry meal, mounted at once a-horseback, and made haste to find out some dwellings before night did fall.
But the sun and their hopes did fail them at the same time, they being then near the cabins of some goatherds. Therefore they determined to pass the night there. And though Sancho's grief was great to lie out of a village, yet Don Quixote was more joyful than ever, for he thought that as often as he slept under the open heaven, so often did he perform an act worthy of a true knight-errant.
They were welcomed by the goatherds very cordially, and Sancho, having put up Rozinante and his ass the best way he could, made his way towards the smell given out by certain pieces of goat's flesh which were boiling in a pot on the fire. And though he longed that very instant to see if they were ready, he did not do so, for he saw the goatherds were themselves taking them off the fire and spreading some sheep-skins on the ground, and were laying their rustic table as quickly as might be. Then with many expressions of good will they invited the two to share in what they had. Those who belonged to the fold, being six in number, sat round on the skins, having first with rough compliments asked Don Quixote to seat himself upon a trough which they placed for him turned upside down.
Don Quixote sat down, but Sancho remained on foot to serve him with the cup which was made of horn. Seeing him standing, his master said: "That thou mayest see, Sancho, the good which is in knight-errantry, and how fair a chance they have who exercise it to arrive at honour and position in the world, I desire that here by my side, and in company of these good people, thou dost seat thyself, and be one and the same with me that am thy master and natural lord. That thou dost eat in my dish and drink in the same cup wherein I drink. For the same may be said of knight-errantry as is said of love, that it makes all things equal."
"Thanks for your favour," replied Sancho, "but I may tell your worship that provided I have plenty to eat I can eat it as well and better standing and by myself, than if I were seated on a level with an emperor. And, indeed, if I speak the truth, what I eat in my corner without ceremony, though it be but a bread and onion, smacks much better than turkeycocks at other tables, where I must chaw my meat leisurely, drink but little, wipe my hands often, nor do other things that solitude and liberty allow."
"For all that," said Don Quixote, "here shalt thou sit, for the humble shall be exalted," and taking him by the arm, he forced his squire to sit down near himself.
The goatherds did not understand the gibberish of squires and knights-errant, and did nothing but eat, hold their peace, and stare at their guests, who with great relish were gorging themselves with pieces as big as their fists. The course of flesh being over, the goatherds spread on the skins a great number of parched acorns and half a cheese, harder than if it had been made of mortar. The horn in the meantime was not idle, but came full from the wineskins and returned empty, as though it had been a bucket sent to the well.
After Don Quixote had satisfied his appetite, he took up a fistful of acorns, and beholding them earnestly, began in this manner: "Happy time and fortunate ages were those which our ancestors called Golden: not because gold—so much prized in this our Iron Age—was gotten in that happy time without any labours, but because those who lived in that time knew not these two words, Thine and Mine. In that holy age all things were in common. No man needed to do aught but lift up his hand and take his food from the strong oak, which did liberally invite them to gather his sweet and savoury fruit. The clear fountains and running rivers did offer them transparent water in magnificent abundance, and in the hollow trees did careful bees erect their commonwealth, offering to every hand without interest the fertile crop of their sweet labours." Thus did the eloquent knight describe the Golden Age, when all was peace, friendship, and concord, and then he showed the astonished goatherds how an evil world had taken its place, and made it necessary for knights-errant like himself to come forward for the protection of widows and orphans, and the defence of distressed damsels. All this he did because the acorns that were given him called to his mind the Golden Age. The goatherds sat and listened with grave attention, and Sancho made frequent visits to the second wine-skin during his discourse. At length it was ended, and they sat round the fire, drinking their wine and listening to one of the goat herds singing, and towards night, Don Quixote's ear becoming very painful, one of his hosts made a dressing of rosemary leaves and salt, and bound up his wound. By this means being eased of his pain, he was able to lie down in one of the huts and sleep soundly after his day's adventures.
Don Quixote spent several days among the goatherds, and at length, when his wound was better, he thanked them for their hospitality, and rode away in search of new adventures, followed by the faithful Sancho.
They came to a halt in a pleasant meadow rich with beautiful grass, by the side of a delightful and refreshing stream, which seemed to invite them to stop and spend there the sultry hours of noon, which were already becoming oppressive.
Don Quixote and Sancho dismounted, and leaving Rozinante and Dapple loose, to feed on the grass that was there in plenty, they ransacked the wallet, and without any ceremony fell to eating what they found in it.
Sancho had neglected to tie up Rozinante, and, as luck would have it, a troop of Galician ponies belonging to some Yanguesian carriers, whose custom it is to rest at noon with their teams in spots and places where grass and water abound, were feeding in the same valley.
It must be believed that Rozinante supposed that the grass the ponies were feeding on was better than his own; but be that as it may, he started off at a little swift trot to feed among them. They resented his appearance, and, as he sought to enter their ranks and feed among them, they received him with their heels and teeth, with such vigour that in a trice he had burst his girth, and his saddle was stripped from his back. But the worst of all was that the carriers, taking part with their own ponies, ran up with stakes and so belaboured him that they brought him to the ground in a sore plight.
Upon this Don Quixote and Sancho, who witnessed the basting of Rozinante, came running up all out of breath, and Don Quixote said to Sancho: "From what I see, friend Sancho, these be no knights, but base, rascally fellows of low breeding. I say this, that thou mayest freely aid me in taking vengeance for the wrong which they have done to Rozinante before our eyes."
"What vengeance can we take," replied Sancho, "when there are more than twenty, and we are but two—nay, perhaps but one and a half?"
"I count for a hundred," said Don Quixote, and without further parley he drew his sword and flew upon the Yanguesians, boldly followed by Sancho Panza.
With his first blow Don Quixote pierced a buff coat that one of them wore, wounding him grievously in the shoulder. Then the Yanguesians, finding themselves so rudely handled by two men only, they being so many, betook themselves to their stakes, and hemming in their adversaries in the midst of them, they laid on with great fury. In fact the second thwack brought Sancho to the ground, and the same fate soon befell Don Quixote, whose dexterity and courage availed him nothing, for he fell at the feet of his unfortunate steed, who had not yet been able to arise.
Then, seeing the mischief they had done, the Yanguesians loaded their team with as much haste as possible, and went their way, leaving the adventurers in a doleful plight and a worse humour.
HOW DON QUIXOTE ARRIVED AT AN INN WHICH HE IMAGINED TO BE A CASTLE
Retold by Judge Parry
For some time after the Yanguesian carriers had gone on their way Don Quixote and Sancho Panza lay on the ground groaning and saying nothing.
The first that came to himself was Sancho Panza, who cried in a weak and pitiful voice: "Sir Don Quixote! O Sir Don Quixote!"
"What wouldst thou, brother Sancho?" answered Don Quixote in the same faint and grievous tone as Sancho.
"I would, if it were possible," said Sancho Panza, "that your worship should give me a couple of mouthfuls of that balsam of Fierabras, if so be that your worship has it at hand. Perhaps it will be as good for broken bones as for wounds."
"If I had it here," sighed Don Quixote, "we should lack nothing. But I swear to thee, Sancho Panza, on the faith of a knight-errant, that before two days pass, unless fortune forbids, I will have it in my possession."
"I pray you," asked Sancho, "in how many days do you think we shall be able to move our feet?"
"I cannot say," said the battered knight; "but I take on myself the blame of all, for I should not have drawn my sword against men that are not knights. Therefore, brother Sancho, take heed of what I tell thee, for it mightily concerns the welfare of us both; and it is this, that when thou seest such rabble offer us any wrong, wait not for me to draw sword upon them, for I will not do it in any wise, but put thou thy hand to thy sword and chastise them at thy pleasure."
But Sancho Panza did not much relish his master's advice, and replied: "Sir, I am a peaceable, sober, and quiet man, and can let pass any injury whatever, for I have a wife and children to take care of. Therefore, let me also say a word to your worship, that by no manner of means shall I put hand to sword either against clown or against knight. And from this time forth I forgive whatever insults are paid to me, whether they are or shall be paid by persons high or low, rich or poor, gentle or simple."
On hearing this his master said: "Would that I had breath enough to be able to speak easily, and that the pain I feel in this rib were less, that I, might make thee understand, Sancho, the mistake thou art making! How can I appoint thee governor of an island when thou wouldst make an end of all by having neither valour nor will to defend thy lands or revenge thine injuries?"
"Alas!" groaned Sancho. "I would that I had the courage and understanding of which your worship speaks, but in truth at this moment I am more fit for plasters than preachments. See if your worship can rise, and we will help Rozinante, although he deserves it not, for he was the chief cause of all this mauling."
"Fortune always leaves one door open in disasters, and your Dapple will now be able to supply the want of Rozinante and carry me hence to some castle where I may be healed of my wounds. Nor shall I esteem such riding a dishonour, for I remember to have read that old Silenus, tutor and guide of the merry god of Laughter, when he entered the city of a hundred gates, rode very pleasantly, mounted on a handsome ass."
"That may be," replied Sancho, "but there is a difference between riding a-horseback and being laid athwart like a sack of rubbish."
"Have done with your replies," exclaimed Don Quixote, "and rise as well as thou art able and sit me on top of thine ass, and let us depart hence before the night comes and overtakes us in this wilderness."
Then Sancho, with thirty groans and sixty sighs and a hundred and twenty curses, lifted up Rozinante—who if he had had a tongue would have complained louder than Sancho himself—and after much trouble set Don Quixote on the ass. Then tying Rozinante to his tail, he led the ass by the halter, and proceeded as best he could to where the highroad seemed to lie.
And Fortune, which had guided their affairs from good to better, led him on to a road on which, he spied an inn, which to his annoyance and Don Quixote's joy must needs be a castle. Sancho protested that it was an inn, and his master that it was a castle; and their dispute lasted so long that they had time to arrive there before it was finished; and into this inn or castle Sancho entered without more parley with all his team.
The innkeeper, seeing Don Quixote laid athwart of the ass, asked Sancho what ailed him. Sancho answered that it was nothing, only that he had fallen down from a rock, and had bruised his ribs somewhat. The innkeeper's wife was by nature charitable, and she felt for the sufferings of others, so she hastened at once to attend to Don Quixote, and made her daughter, a comely young maiden, help her in taking care of her guest. There was also serving in the inn an Asturian woman, broad-cheeked, flat-pated, with a snub nose, blind of one eye and the other not very sound. This young woman, who was called Maritornes, assisted the daughter, and the two made up a bed for Don Quixote in a garret which had served for many years as a straw-loft. The bed on which they placed him was made of four roughly planed boards on two unequal trestles; a mattress which, in thinness, might have been a quilt, so full of pellets that if they had not through the holes shown themselves to be wool, they would to the touch seem to be pebbles. There was a pair of sheets made of target leather; and as for the coverlet, if any one had chosen to count the threads of it he could not have missed one in the reckoning.
On this miserable bed did Don Quixote lie, and presently the hostess and her daughter plastered him over from head to foot, Maritornes holding the candle for them.
While she was plastering him, the hostess, seeing that he was in places black and blue, said that it looked more like blows than a fall. Sancho, however, declared they were not blows, but that the rock had many sharp points, and each one had left a mark; and he added: "Pray, good mistress, spare some of that tow, as my back pains are not a little."
"In that case," said the hostess, "you must have fallen, too."
"I did not fall," said Sancho Panza, "but with the sudden fright I took on seeing my master fall, my body aches as if they had given me a thousand blows, and I now find myself with only a few bruises less than my master, Don Quixote."
"What is this gentleman's name?" asked Maritornes.
"Don Quixote of the Mancha," answered Sancho Panza; "and he is a knight-errant, and one of the best and strongest that have been seen in the world these many ages."
"What is a knight-errant?" asked the young woman.
"Art thou so young in the world that thou knowest it not?" answered Sancho Panza. "Know then, sister mine, that a knight-errant is a thing which in two words is found cudgelled and an emperor. To-day he is the most miserable creature in the world, and the most needy; to-morrow he will have two or three crowns of kingdoms to give to his squire."
"How is it, then," said the hostess, "that thou hast not gotten at least an earldom, seeing thou art squire to this good knight?"
"It is early yet," replied Sancho, "for it is but a month since we set out on our adventures. But believe me, if my master, Don Quixote, gets well of his wounds—or his fall, I should say—I would not sell my hopes for the best title in Spain."
To all this Don Quixote listened very attentively, and sitting up in his bed as well as he could, he took the hostess's hand and said: "Believe me, beautiful lady, that you may count yourself fortunate in having entertained me in this your castle. My squire will inform you who I am, for self-praise is no recommendation; only this I say, that I will keep eternally written in memory the service you have done to me, and I will be grateful to you as long as my life shall endure."
The hostess, her daughter, and the good Maritomes remained confounded on hearing the words of the knight-errant, which they understood as well as if he had spoken in Greek, but yet they believed they were words of compliment, and so they thanked him for his courtesy and departed, leaving Sancho and his master for the night.
There happened to be lodging in the inn that night one of the officers of the Holy Brotherhood of Toledo, whose duty it was to travel the roads and inquire into cases of highway robbery. He hearing some time later that a man was lying in the house sorely wounded must needs go and make an examination of the matter. He therefore lighted his lamp and made his way to Don Quixote's garret.
As soon as Sancho Panza saw him enter arrayed in a shirt and a nightcap with the lamp in his hand, which showed him to be a very ugly man, he asked his master: "Will this by chance be some wizard Moor come to torment us?"
"A wizard it cannot be," said Don Quixote, "for those under enchantment never let themselves be seen."
The officer could make nothing of their talk, and came up to Don Quixote, who lay face upwards encased in his plasters. "Well," said the officer roughly, "how goes it, my good fellow?"
"I would speak more politely if I were you," answered Don Quixote. "Is it the custom in this country, lout, to speak in that way to a knight-errant?"
The officer, finding himself thus rudely addressed, could not endure it, and, lifting up the lamp, oil and all, gave Don Quixote such a blow on the head with it that he broke his lamp in one or two places, and, leaving all in darkness, left the room.
"Ah!" groaned Sancho, "this is indeed the wizard Moor, and he must be keeping his treasures for others, and for us nothing but blows."
"It is ever so," replied Don Quixote; "and we must take no notice of these things of enchantment, nor must we be angry or vexed with them, for since they are invisible, there is no one on whom to take vengeance. Rise, Sancho, if thou canst, and call the constable of this fortress, and try to get him to give me a little wine, oil, salt, and rosemary to prepare the health-giving balsam, of which I have grievous need, for there comes much blood from the wound which the phantom hath given me."
Sancho arose, not without aching bones, and crept in the dark to where the innkeeper was, and said to him: "My lord constable, do us the favour and courtesy to give me a little rosemary, oil, wine, and salt to cure one of the best knights-errant in the world, who lies yonder in bed sorely wounded at the hands of a Moorish enchanter." When the innkeeper heard this he took Sancho Panza for a man out of his wits, but nevertheless gave him what he wanted, and Sancho carried it to Don Quixote. His master was lying with his hands to his head, groaning with pain from the blows of the lamp, which, however, had only raised two big lumps; what he thought was blood being only the perspiration running down his face.
He now took the things Sancho had brought, of which he made a compound, mixing them together and boiling them a good while until they came to perfection.
Then he asked for a bottle into which to pour this precious liquor, but as there was not one to be had in the inn, he decided to pour it into a tin oil-vessel which the innkeeper had given him.
This being done, he at once made an experiment on himself of the virtue of this precious balsam, as he imagined it to be, and drank off a whole quart of what was left in the boiling-pot.
The only result of this was that it made him very sick indeed, as well it might, and, what with the sickness and the bruising and the weariness of body, he fell fast asleep for several hours, and at the end of his sleep awoke so refreshed and so much the better of his bruises that he took himself to be cured and verily believed he had hit upon the balsam of Fierabras.
Sancho Panza, to whom his master's recovery seemed little short of a miracle, begged that he might have what was left in the boiling-pot, which was no small quantity. Don Quixote consenting, he took the pot in both hands, and tossed it down, swallowing very little less than his master had done.
It happened, however, that Sancho's stomach was not so delicate as his master's and he suffered such terrible pains and misery before he was sick that he thought his last hour was come, and cursed the balsam and the thief who had given it to him.
Don Quixote, seeing him in this bad way, said: "I believe, Sancho, that all this evil befalleth thee because thou art not dubbed knight, for I am persuaded that this balsam may not benefit any one that is not."
"If your worship knew that," replied poor Sancho "bad luck to me and mine, why did you let me taste it?"
Before Don Quixote could reply to this, Sancho became so terribly sick that he could only lie groaning and moaning for two hours, at the end of which he felt so shaken and shattered that he could scarcely stand, and sadly wished that he had never become squire to a knight-errant.
HOW SANCHO PAID THE RECKONING AT THE INN
Retold by Judge Parry
Now whilst Sancho Panza lay groaning in his bed, Don Quixote, who, as we have said, felt somewhat eased and cured, made up his mind to set off in search of new adventures. And full of this desire he himself saddled Rozinante and put the pack-saddle on his squire's beast, and helped Sancho to dress and to mount his ass. Then getting a-horseback he rode over to the corner of the inn and seized hold of a pike which stood there, to make it serve him instead of a lance.
All the people that were staying at the inn, some twenty in number, stood staring at him, and among these was the innkeeper's daughter. Don Quixote kept turning his eyes towards her and sighing dolefully, which every one, or at least all who had seen him the night before, thought must be caused by the pain he was in from his bruises.
When they were both mounted and standing by the inn gate, he called to the innkeeper and said in a grave voice: "Many and great are the favours, sir constable, which I have received in this your castle, arid I shall remain deeply grateful for them all the days of my life. If I am able to repay you by avenging you on some proud miscreant that hath done you any wrong, know that it is my office to help the weak, to revenge the wronged, and to punish traitors. Ransack your memory, and if you find anything of this sort for me to do, you have but to utter it, and I promise you, by the Order of Knighthood which I have received, to procure you satisfaction to your heart's content,"
"Sir knight," replied the innkeeper with equal gravity, "I have no need that your worship should avenge me any wrong, for I know how to take what revenge I think good when an injury is done. All I want is that your worship should pay me the score you have run up this night in mine inn, both for the straw and barley of your two beasts, and your suppers and your beds."
"This then is an inn?" exclaimed Don Quixote.
"Ay, that it is, and a very respectable one, too," replied the innkeeper.
"All this time then I have been deceived," said Don Quixote, "for in truth I thought it was a castle and no mean one. But since it is indeed an inn and no castle, all that can be done now is to ask you to forgive me any payment, for I cannot break the laws of knights-errant, of whom I know for certain that they never paid for lodging or anything else in the inns where they stayed. For the good entertainment that is given them is their due reward for the sufferings they endure, seeking adventures both day and night, winter and summer, a-foot and a-horseback, in thirst and hunger, in heat and cold, being exposed to all the storms of heaven and the hardships of earth."
"All that is no business of mine," retorted the innkeeper. "Pay me what you owe me, and keep your tales of knights-errant for those who want them. My business is to earn my living."
"You are a fool and a saucy fellow," said Don Quixote angrily, and, spurring Rozinante and brandishing his lance, he swept out of the inn yard before any one could stop him, and rode on a good distance without waiting to see if his squire was following.
The innkeeper, when he saw him go without paying, ran up to get his due from Sancho Panza, who also refused to pay, and said to him: "Sir, seeing I am squire to a knight-errant, the same rule and reason for not paying at inns and taverns hold as good for me as for my master."
The innkeeper grew angry at these words, and threatened that if he did not pay speedily he would get it from him in a way he would not like.
Sancho replied that by the Order of Knighthood which his lord and master had received, he would not pay a penny though it cost him his life.
But his bad fortune so managed it, that there happened to be at the inn at this time four woolcombers of Segovia, and three needlemakers of Cordova, and two neighbours from Seville, all merry fellows, very mischievous and playsome. And as if they were all moved with one idea, they came up to Sancho, and pulling him down off his ass, one of them ran in for the innkeeper's blanket, and they flung him into it. But looking up and seeing that the ceiling was somewhat lower than they needed for their business, they determined to go out into the yard, which had no roof but the sky, and there placing Sancho in the middle of the blanket, they began to toss him aloft and to make sport with him by throwing him up and down. The outcries of the miserable be-tossed squire were so many and so loud that they reached the ears of his master, who, standing awhile to listen what it was, believed that some new adventure was at hand, until he clearly recognised the shrieks to come from poor Sancho. Immediately turning his horse, he rode back at a gallop to the inn gate, and finding it closed, rode round the wall to see if he could find any place at which he might enter. But he scarcely got to the wall of the inn yard, which was not very high, when he beheld the wicked sport they were making with his squire. He saw him go up and down with such grace and agility, that, had his anger allowed him, I make no doubt he would have burst with laughter. He tried to climb the wall from his horse, but he was so bruised and broken that he could by no means alight from his saddle, and therefore from on top of his horse he used such terrible threats against those that were tossing Sancho that one could not set them down in writing.
But in spite of his reproaches they did not cease from their laughter or labour, nor did the flying Sancho stop his lamentations, mingled now with threats and now with prayers. Thus they carried on their merry game, until at last from sheer weariness they stopped and let him be. And then they brought him his ass, and, helping him to mount it, wrapped him in his coat, and the kind-hearted Maritornes, seeing him so exhausted, gave him a pitcher of water, which, that it might be the cooler, she fetched from the well.
Just as he was going to drink he heard his master's voice calling to him, saying: "Son Sancho, drink not water, drink it not, my son, for it will kill thee. Behold, here I have that most holy balsam,"—and he showed him the can of liquor,—"two drops of which if thou drinkest thou wilt undoubtedly be cured."
At these words Sancho shuddered, and replied to his master: "You forget surely that I am no knight, or else you do not remember the pains I suffered last evening. Keep your liquor to yourself, and let me be in peace."
At the conclusion of this speech he began to drink, but finding it was only water he would not taste it, and called for wine, which Maritornes very kindly fetched for him, and likewise paid for it out of her own purse.
As soon as Sancho had finished drinking, he stuck his heels into his ass, and the inn gate being thrown wide open he rode out, highly pleased at having paid for nothing, even at the price of a tossing. The innkeeper, however, had kept his wallet, but Sancho was so distracted when he departed that he never missed it.
When Sancho reached his master, he was almost too jaded and faint to ride his beast. Don Quixote, seeing him in this plight, said to him: "Now I am certain that yon castle or inn is without doubt enchanted, for those who made sport with thee so cruelly, what else could they be but phantoms, and beings of another world? And I am the more sure of this, because when I was by the wall of the inn yard I was not able to mount it, or to alight from Rozinante, and therefore I must have been enchanted. For if I could have moved, I would have avenged thee in a way to make those scoundrels remember the jest for ever, even although to do it I should have had to disobey the rules of knighthood."
"So would I also have avenged myself," said Sancho, "knight or no knight, but I could not. And yet I believe that those who amused themselves with me were no phantoms or enchanted beings, but men of flesh and bones as we are, for one was called Pedro, and another Tenorio, and the innkeeper called a third Juan. But what I make out of all this, is that those adventures which we go in search of, will bring us at last so many misadventures that we shall not know our right foot from our left. And the best thing for us to do, in my humble opinion, is to return us again to our village and look after our own affairs, and not go jumping, as the saying is, 'out of the frying-pan into the fire.'"
"How little dost thou know of knighthood, friend Sancho," replied Don Quixote. "Peace, and have patience, for a day will come when thou shalt see with thine own eyes how fine a thing it is to follow this calling. What pleasure can equal that of winning a battle or triumphing over an enemy?"
"I cannot tell," answered Sancho; "but this I know, that since we are knights-errant, we have never won any battle, unless it was that with the Biscayan, and even then your worship lost half an ear. And ever after that time it has been nothing but cudgels and more cudgels, blows and more blows,—I getting the tossing in the blanket to boot. And all this happens to me from enchanted people on whom I cannot take vengeance."
"That grieves me," replied Don Quixote; "but who knows what may happen? Fortune may bring me a sword like that of Amadis, which did not only cut like a razor, but there was no armour however strong or enchanted which could stand before it."
"It will be like my luck," said Sancho, "that when your worship finds such a sword it will, like the balsam, be of use only to those who are knights, whilst poor squires will still have to sup sorrow."
"Fear not that, Sancho," replied his master; and he rode ahead, his mind full of adventures, followed at a little distance by his unhappy squire.
THE ADVENTURE OF THE TWO ARMIES
Retold by Judge Parry
Whilst they were riding on their way, Don Quixote saw a large, dense cloud of dust rolling towards them, and turning to Sancho said: "This is the day on which shall be shown the might of my arm and on which I am to do deeds which shall be written in the books of fame. Dost thou see the dust which arises there? Know then that it is caused by a mighty army composed of various and numberless nations that are marching this way." "If that be so," replied Sancho, "then must there be two armies, for on this other side there is as great a dust."
Don Quixote turned round to behold it, and seeing that it was so, he was marvellous glad, for he imagined that there were indeed two armies coming to fight each other in the midst of that spacious plain. For at every hour and moment his fancy was full of battles, enchantments, and adventures, such as are related in the books of knighthood, and all his thoughts and wishes were turned towards such things.
As for the clouds he had seen, they were raised by two large flocks of sheep which were being driven along the same road from two opposite sides, and these by reason of the dust could not be seen until they came near.
Don Quixote was so much in earnest when he called them armies that Sancho at once believed it, asking: "What then shall we do, good master?"
"What!" cried Don Quixote. "Why, favour and help those who are in distress and need. Thou must know, Sancho, that this which comes on our front is led by the mighty Emperor Alifamfaron, lord of the great island of Trapobana. This other which is marching at our back is the army of his foe, the King of the Garamantes, Pentapolin of the Naked Arm, for he always goes into battle with his right arm bare."
"But why do these two princes hate each other so much?" asked Sancho.
"They are enemies," replied Don Quixote, "because Alifamfaron is a furious pagan and is deeply in love with Pentapolin's daughter, who is a beautiful and gracious princess and a Christian. Her father refuses to give her to the pagan king until he abandons Mahomet's false religion and becomes a convert to his own."
"By my beard," said Sancho, "Pentapolin does right well, and I will help him all I can."
"Then thou wilt but do thy duty," said Don Quixote, "for it is not necessary to be a dubbed knight to engage in battles such as these."
"Right!" replied Sancho, "but where shall we stow this ass that we may be sure of finding him after the fight is over, for I think it is not the custom to enter into battle mounted on such a beast."
"That is true," said Don Quixote; "but thou mayest safely leave it to chance whether he be lost or found, for after this battle we shall have so many horses that even Rozinante runs a risk of being changed for another. And now let us withdraw to that hillock yonder that we may get a better view of both those great armies."
They did so, and standing on the top of a hill gazed at the two great clouds of dust which the imagination of Don Quixote had turned into armies. And then Don Quixote, with all the eloquence he could muster, described to Sancho the names of the different knights in the two armies, with their colours and devices and mottoes, and the numbers of their squadrons, and the countries and provinces from which they came.
But though Sancho stood and listened in wonder he could see nothing as yet of knights or armies, and at last he cried out: "Where are all these grand knights, good my master? For myself, I can see none of them. But perhaps it is all enchantment, as so many things have been."
"How! Sayest them so?" said Don Quixote. "Dost thou not hear the horses neigh and the trumpets sound and the noise of the drums?"
"I hear nothing else," said Sancho, "but the great bleating of sheep."
And so it was, indeed, for by this time the two flocks were approaching very near to them.
"The fear thou art in," said Don Quixote, "permits thee neither to see nor hear aright, for one of the effects of fear is to disturb the senses and make things seem different from what they are. If thou art afraid, stand to one side and leave me to myself, for I alone can give the victory to the side which I assist."
So saying he clapped spurs to Rozinante, and, setting his lance in rest, rode down the hillside like a thunderbolt.
Sancho shouted after him as loud as he could: "Return, good Sir Don Quixote! Return! For verily all those you go to charge are but sheep and muttons. Return, I say! Alas that ever I was born! What madness is this? Look, there are neither knights, nor arms, nor shields, nor soldiers, nor emperors, but only sheep. What is it you do, Wretch that I am?"
For all this Don Quixote did not turn back, but rode on, shouting in a loud voice: "So ho! knights! Ye that serve and fight under the banner of Pentapolin of the Naked Arm, follow me, all of you. Ye shall see how easily I will revenge him on his enemy Alifamfaron of Trapobana!"
With these words he dashed into the midst of the flock of sheep, and began to spear them with as much courage and fury as if he were fighting his mortal enemies.
The shepherds that came with the flock cried to him to leave off, but seeing their words had no effect, they unloosed their slings and began to salute his head with stones as big as one's fist.
But Don Quixote made no account of their stones, and galloping to and fro everywhere cried out: "Where art thou, proud Alifamfaron? Where art thou? Come to me, for I am but one knight alone, who desires to prove my strength with thee, man to man, and make thee yield thy life for the wrong thou hast done to the valorous Pentapolin."
At that instant a stone gave him such a blow that it buried two of his ribs in his body. Finding himself so ill-treated he thought for certain that he was killed or sorely wounded, and recollecting his balsam, he drew out his oil pot and set it to his mouth to drink. But before he could take as much as he wanted, another stone struck him full on the hand, broke the oil pot into pieces, and carried away with it three or four teeth out of his mouth, and sorely crushed two fingers of his hand. So badly was he wounded by these two blows that he now fell off his horse on to the ground.
The shepherds ran up, and believing that they had killed him, they collected their flocks in great haste, and carrying away their dead muttons, of which there were seven, they went away without caring to inquire into things any further.
Sancho was all this time standing on the hill looking at the mad pranks his master was performing, and tearing his beard and cursing the hour when they had first met. Seeing, however, that he was fallen on the ground, and the shepherds had gone away, he came down the hill and went up to his master, and found him in a very bad way, although not quite insensible.
"Did I not tell you, Sir Don Quixote," said Sancho mournfully, "did I not tell you to come back, for those you went to attack were not armies but sheep?"
"That thief of an enchanter, my enemy, can alter things and make men vanish away as he pleases. Know, Sancho, that it is very easy for those kind of men to make us seem what they please, and this malicious being who persecutes me, envious of the glory that I was to reap from this battle, hath changed the squadrons of the foe into flocks of sheep. If thou dost not believe me, Sancho, get on thine ass and follow them fair and softly, and thou shalt see that when they have gone a little way off they will return to their original shapes, and, ceasing to be sheep, become men as right and straight as I painted them to you at first."
At this moment the balsam that Don Quixote had swallowed began to make him very sick, and Sancho Panza ran off to search in his wallet for something that might cure him. But when he found that his wallet was not upon his ass, and remembered for the first time that it was left at the inn, he was on the point of losing his wits. He cursed himself anew, and resolved in his heart to leave his master and return to his house, even though he should lose his wages and the government of the promised island.
Don Quixote had now risen, and with his left hand to his mouth that the rest of his teeth might not fall out, with the other he took Rozinante by the bridle, and went up to where his squire stood leaning against his ass with his head in his hand, looking the picture of misery.
Don Quixote, seeing him look so miserable, said to him: "Learn, Sancho, not to be so easily downcast, for these storms that befall us are signs that the weather will soon be fair. Therefore thou shouldst not vex thyself about my misfortunes, for sure thou dost not share in them."
"How not?" replied Sancho; "mayhap he they tossed in a blanket yesterday was not my father's son? And the wallet which is missing to-day with all my chattels, is not that my misfortune?"
"What, is the wallet missing, Sancho?" said Don Quixote,
"Yes, it is missing," answered Sancho.
"In that case we have nothing to eat to-day," said Don Quixote.
"It would be so," said Sancho, "should the herbs of the field fail us, which your worship says you know of, and with which you have told me knights-errant must supply their wants."
"Nevertheless," answered Don Quixote, "I would rather just now have a hunch of bread, or a cottage loaf and a couple of pilchards' heads, than all the herbs that Dioscorides has described. But before thou mountest thine ass, lend me here thy hand and see how many teeth are lacking on this right side of my upper jaw, for there I feel the pain."
Sancho put his fingers in, and, feeling about, asked: "How many teeth did your worship have before, on this side?"
"Four," replied Don Quixote, "besides the wisdom tooth, all whole and sound."
"Mind well what you say, sir," answered Sancho.
"Four, say I, if not five," said Don Quixote, "for in all my life I never had tooth drawn from my mouth, nor has any fallen out or been destroyed by decay."
"Well, then, in this lower part," said Sancho, "your worship has but two teeth and a half, and in the upper, neither a half nor any, for all is as smooth as the palm of my hand."
"Unfortunate I!" exclaimed Don Quixote, "for I would rather they had deprived me of my arm, as long as it were not my sword arm. Know, Sancho, that a mouth without teeth is like a mill without a grindstone, and a tooth is more to be prized than a millstone. But all this must we suffer who profess the stern rule of knights-errant. Mount, friend, and lead the way, for I will follow thee what pace thou pleasest."
DON QUIXOTE DOES PENANCE AS DID THE KNIGHTS OF OLD
Retold by Judge Parry
Don Quixote mounted once again on Rozinante, and commanded Sancho to follow him. Dapple, the ass, had been stolen from them one night while they slept, and Sancho was now obliged to walk. They travelled slowly through the thickest and roughest part of the mountains. "What is it that your worship intends to do in this out of the way spot?" asked Sancho.
"I will keep you no longer in the dark," replied Don Quixote. "You must know that Amadis of Gaul was the most perfect of all knights-errant. And as he was the morning star and the sun of all valiant knights, so am I wise in imitating all he did. And I remember that when his lady Oriana disdained his love, he showed his wisdom, virtue, and manhood by changing his name to Beltenebros and retiring to a wild country, there to perform a penance. And as I may more easily imitate him in this than in staying giants, beheading serpents, killing monsters, destroying armies, and putting navies to flight, and because this mountain seems fit for the purpose, I intend myself to do penance here."
By this time they had arrived at the foot of a lofty mountain, which stood like a huge rock apart from all the rest. Close by glided a smooth river, hemmed in on every side by a green and fertile meadow. Around were many fine trees and plants and flowers, which made the spot a most delightful one.
"Here!" cried Don Quixote in a loud voice, "I elect to do my penance. Here shall the tears from my eyes swell the limpid streams, and here shall the sighs of my heart stir the leaves of every mountain tree. O Dulcinea of Toboso, day of my night and star of my fortunes, consider the pass to which I am come, and return a favourable answer to my wishes!"
With this he alighted from Rozinante, and, taking off his saddle and bridle, gave him a slap on his haunches, and said: "He gives thee liberty that wants it himself, O steed, famous for thy swiftness and the great works thou hast done!"
When Sancho heard all this he could not help saying: "I wish Dapple were here, for he deserves at least as long a speech in his praise; but truly, sir knight, if my journey with your letter, and your penance here are really to take place, it would be better to saddle Rozinante again, that he may supply the want of mine ass that was stolen from me."
"As thou likest about that," said Don Quixote; "but thou must not depart for three days as yet, during which time thou shalt see what I will say and do for my lady's sake, that thou mayest tell her all about it."
"But what more can I see," asked Sancho, "than what I have already seen?"
"Thou art well up in the matter, certainly," replied his master, "for as yet I have done nothing, and if I am to be a despairing lover, I must tear my clothes, and throw away mine armour, and beat my head against these rocks, with many other things that shall make thee marvel."
"For goodness' sake," cried Sancho, "take care how you go knocking your head against rocks, for you might happen to come up against so ungracious a rock that it would put an end to the penance altogether. If the knocks on the head are necessary, I should content yourself, seeing that this madness is all make-believe, with striking your head on some softer thing, and leave the rest to me, for I will tell your lady that I saw you strike your head on the point of a rock that was harder than a diamond."
"I thank thee, Sancho, for thy good will," replied the knight, "but the rules of knighthood forbid me to act or to speak a lie, and therefore the knocks of the head must be real solid knocks, and it will be necessary for thee to leave me some lint to cure them, seeing that fortune has deprived us of that precious balsam."
"It was worse to lose the ass," said Sancho, "seeing that with him we lost lint and everything; but pray, your worship, never mention that horrible balsam again, for the very name of it nearly turns me inside out. And now write your letter, and let me saddle Rozinante and begone, for I warrant when I once get to Toboso I will tell the Lady Dulcinea such strange things of your follies and madness, that I shall make her as soft as a glove even though I find her harder than a cork-tree. And with her sweet and honied answer I will return as speedily as a witch on a broom-stick, and release you from your penance."
"But how shall we write a letter here?" said Don Quixote.
"And how can you write the order for the handing over to me of the ass-colts?" asked Sancho.
"Seeing there is no paper," said the knight, "we might, like the ancients, write on waxen tablets, but that wax is as hard to find as paper. But now that I come to think of it, there is Cardenio's pocket-book. I will write on that, and thou shalt have the matter of it written out in a good round hand at the first village wherein thou shalt find a schoolmaster."
"But what is to be done about the signature?" asked Sancho.
"The letters of Amadis were never signed," replied Don Quixote.
"That is all very well," said Sancho, "but the paper for the three asses must be signed, for if it be copied out they shall say it is false, and then I shall not get the ass-colts."
"Well, then, the order for the ass-colts shall be signed in the book," said Don Quixote; "and as for the love-letter, thou shalt put this ending to it, 'Yours till death, the Knight of the Rueful Countenance.' And it will be no great matter that it goes in a strange hand, for as well as I remember Dulcinea can neither read nor write, nor has she ever seen my handwriting. For indeed, during the twelve years I have been loving her more dearly than the light of my eyes, I have only seen her four times, and I doubt if she hath ever noticed me at all, so closely have her father Lorenzo Corchuelo, and her mother Aldonza brought her up."
"Ha! ha!" cried Sancho, "then the Lady Dulcinea of Toboso is the daughter of Lorenzo Corchuelo, and is called Aldonza Corchuelo?"
"That is she," said Don Quixote, "and a lady worthy to be the empress of this wide universe."
"I know her very well," replied Sancho, "and can tell you that she can throw an iron bar with the strongest lad in our village. She is a girl of mettle, tall and stout, and a sturdy lass that can hold her own with any knight-errant in the world. Out upon her, what an arm she hath! Why, I saw her one day stand on top of the church belfry, to call her father's servants from the fields, and, though they were half a league off, they heard her as though she were in the next field; and the best of her is there is nothing coy about her, but she jokes with all and makes game and jest of everybody. To be frank with you, Sir Don Quixote, I have been living under a great mistake, for, really and truly, I thought all this while that the lady Dulcinea was some great princess with whom your worship was in love."
"I have told thee, Sancho, many times before now," said Don Quixote, "that thou art a very great babbler. Understand, then, that my lady Dulcinea is to me as good and beautiful as any princess in the world, and that is enough."
With these words; he took out the pocket-book, and, going aside, began to write with great gravity. When he had ended, he called Sancho to him and read him the following letter:—
"The sere wounded one, O sweetest Dulcinea of Toboso, sends thee the health which he wants himself. If thy beauty disdain me, I cannot live. My good Squire Sancho will give thee ample account, O ungrateful fair one, of the penance I do for love of thee. Should it be thy pleasure to favour me, I am thine. If not, by ending my life I shall satisfy both thy cruelty and my desires.
"Thine until death,
"KNIGHT OF THE RUEFUL COUNTENANCE."
"By my father's life," said Sancho, "it is the noblest thing that ever I heard in my life; and now will your worship write the order for the three ass-colts?"
"With pleasure," answered Don Quixote, and he did as he was desired.
"And now," said Sancho, "let me saddle Rozinante and be off. For I intend to start without waiting to see those mad pranks your worship is going to play. There is one thing I am afraid of, though, and that is, that on my return I shall not be able to find the place where I leave you, it is so wild and difficult."
"Take the marks well, and when thou shouldst return I will mount to the tops of the highest rocks. Also it will be well to cut down some boughs and strew them after you as you go, that they may serve as marks to find your way back."
Sancho did this, and, not heeding his master's request to stay and see him go through some mad tricks in order that he might describe them to Dulcinea, he mounted Rozinante and rode away.
He had not got more than a hundred paces when he returned and said: "Sir, what you said was true, and it would be better for my conscience if I saw the follies you are about to do before I describe them to your lady."
"Did I not tell thee so?" said Don Quixote; "wait but a minute."
Then stripping himself in all haste of most of his clothes, Don Quixote began cutting capers and turning somersaults in his shirt tails, until even Sancho was satisfied that he might truthfully tell the Lady Dulcinea that her lover was mad, and so, turning away, he started in good earnest upon his journey.
SANCHO'S JOURNEY TO THE LADY DULCINEA
Retold by Judge Parry
Don Quixote, left to himself, climbed to the top of a high mountain, and spent his days making poems about the beautiful Dulcinea, which he recited to the rocks and trees around him. In this, and in calling upon the nymphs of the streams, and the satyrs of the woods, to hear his cries, did he pass his time while Sancho was away.
As for his squire, turning out on the highway, he took the road which led to Toboso, and arrived the next day at the inn where he had been tossed in a blanket. He no sooner saw it than he imagined that he was once again flying through the air, and he half made up his mind that he would not enter the inn, although it was now dinner-hour and he felt a marvellous longing to taste some cooked meat again, as he had eaten nothing but cold fare for a good many days.
This longing made him draw near to the inn, remaining still in some doubt as to whether he should enter it or not.
As he stood musing, there came out of the inn two persons who recognised him at once, and the one said to the other: "Tell me, sir curate, is not that horseman riding there Sancho Panza, who departed with Don Quixote to be his squire?"
"It is," said the curate, "and that is Don Quixote's horse."
They knew him well enough, for they were Don Quixote's friends, the curate and the barber, who not so long ago had helped to burn his books and wall up his library; so, wanting to learn news of Don Quixote, they went up to him and said: "Friend Sancho Panza, where have you left your master?"
Sancho Panza knew them instantly, but wanted to conceal the place and manner in which the knight remained, and answered that his master was kept in a certain place by affairs of the greatest importance of which he must say nothing.
"That will not do, friend Sancho," said the barber. "If thou dost not tell us where he is, we shall believe that thou hast robbed and slain him, seeing that thou art riding his horse. Verily thou must find us the owner of the steed, or it will be the worse for thee."
"Your threats do not trouble me, for I am not one who would rob or murder anybody, and, for my master, he is enjoying himself doing penance in the Brown Mountains, where I have just left him."
Then Sancho told them from beginning to end how his master was carrying out his penance, and of the mad pranks he intended to perform, and how he, Sancho, was bearing a letter to the Lady Dulcinea of Toboso, who was none other than the daughter of Lorenzo Corchuelo, with whom the knight was head and ears in love.
Both of them were amazed at what they heard, although they knew something of Don Quixote's madness already. They asked Sancho to show, them the letter he was carrying to the Lady Dulcinea. Sancho told them it was written in the pocket-book, and that he was ordered to get it copied out at the first village he came to.
The curate told him that if he would show it to them, he would make a fair copy of it for him. Then Sancho thrust his hand into his bosom to search for the little book, but he could not find it, nor would he have found it if he had hunted until Doomsday, for he had left it with Don Quixote, who had quite forgotten to give it to him, nor had he remembered to ask for it when he came away. When Sancho discovered that the book was lost, his face grew as pale as death, and feeling all over his body he saw clearly that it was not to be found. Without more ado he laid hold of his beard, and with both his fists plucked out half his hair and gave himself half a dozen blows about his face and nose, so that he was soon bathed in his own blood.
Seeing this, the curate and the barber asked him what was the matter, that he should treat himself so ill.
"What is the matter?" cried poor Sancho. "Why, I have let slip through my fingers three of the finest ass-colts you ever saw."
"How so?" asked the barber.
"Why, I have lost the pocket-book," replied Sancho, "which had in it not only the letter for Dulcinea, but also a note of hand signed by my master addressed to his niece, ordering her to give me three ass-colts of the four or five that were left at his house." So saying, he told them the story of his lost Dapple.
The curate comforted him by telling him that as soon as they had found his master they would get him to write out the paper again in proper form. With this Sancho took courage, and said if that could be done all would be right, for he cared not much for the loss of Dulcinea's letter, as he knew it by heart.
"Say it then, Sancho," said the barber, "and we will write it out."
Then Sancho stood still and began to scratch his head and try to call the letter to memory. He stood first on one leg and then on the other, and looked first to heaven and then to earth, while he gnawed off half his nails, and at the end of a long pause said: "I doubt if I can remember all, but it began, 'High and unsavoury lady.'"
"I warrant you," interrupted the barber, "it was not 'unsavoury' but 'sovereign lady.'"
"So it was," cried Sancho; "and then there was something about the wounded one sending health and sickness and what not to the ungrateful fair, and so it scrambled along until it ended in 'Yours till death, the Knight of the Rueful Countenance.'"
They were both much amused at Sancho's good memory, and praised it highly, asking him to repeat the letter once or twice more to them, so that they might be able to write it down when they got a chance. Three times did Sancho repeat it, and each time he made as many new mistakes. Then he told them other things about his master, but never a word about being tossed in a blanket, although he refused, without giving any reason, to enter the inn, though he begged them to bring him something nice and hot to eat, and some barley for Rozinante, when they had finished their own repast.
With that they went into the inn, and after a while the curate brought him some meat, which Sancho was very glad to see.
Now whilst the curate and the barber were in the inn they discussed together the best means of bringing Don Quixote back to his home, and the curate hit upon a plan which fitted in well with Don Quixote's humour, and seemed likely to be successful. This plan was, as he told the barber, to dress himself like a wandering damsel, while the barber took the part of her squire, and in this disguise they were to go to where Don Quixote was undergoing his penance, and the curate, pretending that he was an afflicted and sorely distressed damsel, was to demand of him a boon, which as a valiant knight errant he could not refuse.
The service which the damsel was to ask was that Don Quixote would follow her where she should lead him, to right a wrong which some wicked knight had done her. Besides this, she was to pray him not to command her to unveil herself or inquire as to her condition, until he had done her right against the wicked knight. And thus they hoped to lead Don Quixote back to his own village, and afterwards to cure him of his mad ideas.
The curate's notion pleased the barber well, and they resolved to carry it out. They borrowed of the innkeeper's wife a gown and a head-dress, leaving with her in exchange the curate's new cassock. The barber made for himself a great beard of a red ox's tail in which the innkeeper used to hang his horse-comb.
The innkeeper's wife asked them what they wanted these things for, and the curate told her shortly all about Don Quixote's madness, and how this disguise was necessary to bring him away from the mountains where he had taken up his abode.
The innkeeper and his wife then remembered all about their strange guest, and told the barber and the curate all about him and his balsam, and how Sancho had fared with the blanket. Then the innkeeper's wife dressed up the curate so cleverly that it could not have been better done. She attired him in a stuff gown with bands of black velvet several inches broad, and a bodice and sleeves of green velvet trimmed with white satin, both of which might have been made in the days of the Flood. The curate would not consent to wear a headdress like a woman's, but put on a white quilted linen nightcap, which he carried to sleep in. Then with two strips of black stuff he made himself a mask and fixed it on, and this covered his face and beard very neatly. He then put on his large hat, and, wrapping himself in his cloak, seated himself like a woman sideways on his mule, whilst the barber mounted his, with a beard reaching down to his girdle, made, as was said, from a red ox's tail.
They now took their leave, and all at the inn wished them a good success; but they had not gone very far when the curate began to dread that he was not doing right in dressing up as a woman and gadding about in such a costume, even on so good an errand. He therefore proposed to the barber that he should be the distressed damsel, and he, the curate, would take the part of the squire and teach him what to say and how to behave. Sancho now came up to them, and, seeing them in their strange dresses, could not contain his laughter.
The curate soon threw off his disguise, and the barber did the same, and both resolved not to dress up any more until they should come nearer to Don Quixote, when the barber should be the distressed damsel and the curate should be the squire.
Then they pursued their journey towards the Brown Mountains, guided by Sancho, to whom they explained that it was necessary that his master should be led away from his penance, if he was ever to become an emperor and be in a position to give Sancho his desired island.
THE STORY OF CARDENIO
Retold by Judge Parry
The next day they arrived at the place where Sancho had left the boughs strewn along his path, and there he told them they were near to Don Quixote, and that they had better get dressed. For they had told Sancho part of their plan to take away his master from this wretched penance he was performing, and warned him not to tell the knight who they were. They also said that if Don Quixote asked, as they were sure he would, whether he had delivered his letter to Dulcinea, he was to say that he had done so; but as his lady could not read, she had sent a message that he was to return to her. Sancho listened to all this talk, and said he would remember everything, for he was anxious that his master should give up penances and go forth again in search of islands. He also suggested that it were best he should go on in advance, as perhaps the message from Dulcinea would of itself be enough to bring Don Quixote away from the mountains.
With that, Sancho went off into the mountain gorges, leaving the other two behind by a stream overhung with pleasant trees and rocks.
It was one of the hottest days of August, when in those parts the heat is very great, and it was about three in the afternoon when Sancho left them. The two were resting in the shade at their ease when they heard the sound of a voice, not accompanied by any instrument, but singing very sweetly and melodiously. The song surprised them not a little, for this did not seem the place in which to find so good a singer.
The singer finished his song, and the barber and curate, in wonder and delight, listened for more. But as silence continued, they agreed to go in search of this strange musician. As they were moving away he again burst into song, and at the end of this, uttered a deep sigh, and the music was changed into sobs and heartrending moans.
They had not gone far in their search when, in turning the corner of a rock, they saw a man with a black and matted beard, his hair long and untangled, his feet unshod and his legs bare. The curate at once went up to him and the man returned his greeting in a hoarse tone but with great courtesy.
"Whoever you may be, good sirs, I see clearly that, unworthy as I am, there are yet human beings who would show me kindness. My name is Cardenio; the place of my birth one of the best cities in Andalusia; my lineage noble, my parents rich, and my misfortunes so great that I think no one was ever to be pitied as I am. A terrible madness masters me to live in these mountains and many blame my outrageous conduct rather than pity my misery. But if you will listen to my story, you will know why I have been driven here, what has made me mad, and will understand how far I ought to be blamed and how much I may be pitied."
The curate and the barber, who wanted nothing better than to learn the cause of his woe from his own lips, asked him to tell his story.
Upon this Cardenio began in the middle of his story and progressed rapidly in spite of repeated questioning until he came to the book that his beloved Lucinda had borrowed about Amadis Gaul.
There was no interruption from any one on this occasion, so Cardenio went on to tell them how, when Lucinda returned the book he found in it a letter full of tender wishes beautifully expressed.
"It was this letter," continued Cardenio, "that moved me to again ask Lucinda for wife; it was this letter also which made Don Fernando determine to ruin me before my happiness could be complete. I told Don Fernando how matters stood with me, and how her father expected mine to ask for Lucinda, and how I dared not speak to my father about it for fear he should refuse his consent; not because he was ignorant of the beauty and worth of Lucinda, but because he did not wish me to marry so soon, or at least not until he had seen what the Duke Ricardo would do for me. I told Don Fernando that I could not venture to speak to my father about it, and he offered to speak on my behalf, and persuade my father to ask for Lucinda's hand.
"How could I imagine that with a gentleman like Fernando, my own friend, such a thing as treachery was possible? But so it was! And my friend, as I thought him, knowing that my presence was a stumbling-block to his plans, asked me to go to his elder brother's to borrow some money from him to pay for six horses which Fernando had bought in the city. It never entered my thoughts to imagine his villainy, and I went with a right good will to do his errand. That night I spoke with Lucinda, and told her what had been arranged between me and Fernando, telling her to hope that all would turn out well. As I left her, tears filled her eyes, and we both seemed full of misery and alarm, tokens, as I now think, of the dark fate that awaited me. I reached the town to which I was sent, and delivered my letters to Don Fernando's brother. I was well received, but there seemed no haste to send me back again, and I was put off with many excuses about the difficulty of raising the money that Don Fernando needed. In this way I rested several days, much to my disgust, and it seemed to me impossible to live apart from Lucinda for so long a time.
"But on the fourth day after I had arrived, there came a man in search of me with a letter, which, by the handwriting, I knew to be Lucinda's. I opened it, not without fear, knowing that it must be some serious matter which would lead her to write to me, seeing she did it so rarely. I asked the bearer, before I read the letter, who had given it to him, and how long it had been on the way. He answered that, passing by chance at midday through a street in my native city, a very beautiful lady had called to him from a window. Poor thing, said he, her eyes were all bedewed with tears, and she spoke hurriedly, saying: 'Brother, if thou art a good man, as thou seemest to be, I pray thee take this letter to the person named in the address, and in so doing thou shalt do me a great service. And that thou mayest not want money to do it, take what thou shalt find wrapped in that handkerchief.'
"'So saying she threw out of the window a handkerchief in which was wrapped a hundred reals, this ring of gold which I carry here, and this letter which I have given you. I made signs to her that I would do what she bade, and as I knew you very well I made up my mind not to trust any other messenger, but to come myself, and so I have travelled this journey, which you know is some eighteen leagues, in but sixteen hours.'
"Whilst the kind messenger was telling his story, I remained trembling with the letter in my hand, until at last I took courage and opened it, when these words caught my eyes:—
"'The promise Don Fernando made to you to persuade your father to speak to mine, he has kept after his own fashion. Know, then, that he has himself asked me for wife, and my father, carried away by his rank and position, has agreed to his wishes, so that in two days we are to be privately married. Imagine how I feel, and consider if you should not come at once. Let me hope that this reaches your hand ere mine be joined to his who keeps his promised faith so ill.'
"Such were the words of her letter, and they caused me at once to set out on my journey without waiting for the despatch of Don Fernando's business, for now I knew that it was not a matter of buying horses, but the pursuit of his own wretched pleasure, that had led to my being sent to his brother. The rage which I felt for Don Fernando, joined to the fear I had of losing the jewel I had won by so many years of patient love, seemed to lend me wings, and I arrived at my native city as swiftly as though I had flown, just in time to see and speak with Lucinda. I entered the city secretly, and left my mule at the house of the honest man who had brought my letter, and went straight to the little iron gate where I had so often met Lucinda.
"There I found her, and as soon as she saw me she said in deep distress: 'Cardenio, I am attired in wedding garments, and in the hall there waits for me the traitor, Don Fernando, and my covetous father, with other witnesses, who shall see my death rather than my wedding. Be not troubled, dear friend, for if I cannot persuade them to give me my freedom, I can at least end my life with this dagger.'
"I answered her in great distress, saying: 'Sweet lady, if thou carriest a dagger, I also carry a sword to defend thy life, or to kill myself, should fortune be against us.'
"I believe she did not hear all I said, for she was hastily called away, and I aroused myself from my grief, as best I could, and went into the house, for I knew well all the entrances and exits. Then, without being seen, I managed to place myself in a hollow formed by the window of the great hall, which was covered by two pieces of tapestry drawn together, whence I could see all that went on in the hall without any one seeing me.
"The bridegroom entered the hall, wearing his ordinary dress. His groomsman was a first cousin of Lucinda's, and no one else was in the room but the servants of the house. In a little while Lucinda came out of her dressing-room with her mother and two of her maids. My anxiety gave me no time to note what she wore. I was only able to mark the colours, which were crimson and white; and I remember the glimmer with which the jewels and precious stones shone in her head-dress. But all this was as nothing to the singular beauty of her fair golden hair.
"When they were all stood in the hall, the priest of the parish entered, and, taking each by the hand, asked: 'Will you, Lady Lucinda, take the Lord Don Fernando for your lawful husband?' I thrust my head and neck out of the tapestry to hear what Lucinda answered. The priest stood waiting for a long time before she gave it, and then, when I expected, nay, almost hoped, that she would take out the dagger to stab herself, or unloose her tongue to speak the truth, or make some confession of her love for me, I heard her say in a faint and languishing voice, 'I will.'
"Then Don Fernando said the same, and, giving her the ring, the knot was tied. But when the bridegroom approached to embrace her, she put her hand to her heart and fell fainting in her mother's arms.
"It remains only for me to tell in what a state I was, when in that 'Yes!' I saw all my hopes at an end. I burned with rage and jealousy. All the house was in a tumult when Lucinda fainted, and, her mother unclasping her dress to give her air, found in her bosom a paper, which Fernando seized and went aside to read by the light of a torch. Whilst he read it he fell into a chair and covered his face with his hands in melancholy discontent.
"Seeing every one was in confusion I ventured forth, not caring where I went, not having even a desire to take vengeance on my enemies. I left the house, and came to where I had left my mule, which I caused to be saddled. Then without a word of farewell to any one I rode out of the city, and never turned my head to look back at it again.
"All night I travelled, and about dawn I came to one of the entrances to these mountains, through which I wandered three days at random. I then left my mule, and such things as I had, and took to living in these wilds. My most ordinary dwelling is in the hollow of a cork-tree, which is large enough to shelter this wretched body. The goatherds who live among these mountains give me food out of charity. They tell me, when they meet me in my wits, that at other times I rush out at them and seize with violence the food they would offer me in kindness.
"I know that I do a thousand mad things, but without Lucinda I shall never recover my reason, and I feel certain that my misery can only be ended by death."
THE STORY OF DOROTHEA
Retold by Judge Parry
As soon as Cardenio had finished his melancholy story, the curate was about to offer him some consolation, when he was stopped by hearing a mournful voice calling out: "Oh that I could find an end to this life of misery! Alas, how much more agreeable to me is the company of these rocks and thickets than the society of faithless man! Would that I had any one to advise me in difficulty, to comfort me in distress, or to avenge my wrongs!" This was overheard by the curate and all who were with him, and thinking that the person who spoke must be hard by, they went to search, and had not gone twenty paces when they saw behind a large rock a boy sitting under an ash-tree. He wore a peasant's dress, but as he was bending down to wash his feet in the brook, his head was turned from them. They approached softly and without speaking, while his whole attention was employed in bathing his legs in the stream. They wondered at the whiteness and beauty of his feet, that did not seem formed to tread the furrows, or follow the cattle or the plough, as his dress seemed to suggest. The curate, who was ahead of the rest, made signs to them to crouch down, or hide themselves behind a rock. This done, they all gazed at the beautiful youth, who was clad in a grey jacket, and wore breeches and hose of the same cloth, with a grey hunting-cap on his head. Having washed his delicate feet, he wiped them with a handkerchief which he took out of his cap, and in doing so he raised his head, showing to those who were looking at him a face of such exquisite beauty that Cardenio murmured: "Since this is not Lucinda, it can be no earthly but some celestial being."
The youth took off his cap, and, shaking his head, a wealth of hair, that Apollo might have envied, fell down upon his shoulders, and discovered to them all that the peasant was not only a woman, but one of the most delicate and handsome women they had ever seen. Even Cardenio had to admit to himself that only Lucinda could rival her in beauty. Her golden locks fell down in such length and quantity that they not only covered her shoulders, but concealed everything except her feet, and the bystanders more than ever desired to know who this mysterious beauty might be. Some one advanced, and at the noise the beauteous phantasy raised her head, and thrust aside her locks with both hands, to see what it was that had startled her. No sooner did she perceive them than she started up, and, without staying to put on her shoes or tie up her hair, seized her bundle, and took to flight full of alarm, but she had not run six yards when her delicate feet, unable to bear the roughness of the stones, failed her, and she fell to the ground.
They all ran to her assistance, and the curate, who was first, said: "Stay, madam, whosoever you are; those you see here have no desire to harm you, and there is therefore no necessity whatever for flight."
To this she made no reply, being ashamed and confused, but the curate, taking her hand, continued in a kindly manner: "Madam, it can be no slight cause that has hidden your beauty in such an unworthy disguise, and brought you to this lonely place where we have found you. Let us at least offer you our advice and counsel in your distress, for no sorrow can be so great that kind words may not be of service. Therefore, madam, tell us something of your good or evil fortune, that we may help you in your troubles as best we can."
At first, while the curate spoke, the disguised damsel stood rapt in attention, and gaped and gazed at them all as if she were some stupid villager, who did not understand what was said; but finding that the curate understood something of her secret, she sighed deeply, and said: "Since these mountains cannot conceal me, and my poor hair betrays my secret, it would be vain for me to pretend things which you could not be expected to believe. Therefore I thank you all, gentlemen, for your kindness and courtesy, and I will tell you something of my misfortunes, not to win your pity, but that you may know why it is I wander here alone and in this strange disguise."
All this was said in such a sweet voice, and in so sensible a manner, that they again assured her of their wish to serve her, and begged that she would tell them her story.
To this she replied by putting on her shoes and binding up her hair, and seating herself upon a rock in the midst of her three hearers. Then, brushing away a few tears from her eyes, she began in a clear voice the story of her life.
"In the Province of Andalusia there is a certain town from which a great duke takes his name, which makes him one of our grandees, as they are called in Spain. He has two sons. The elder is heir to his estates, the younger is heir to I know not what, unless it be his father's evil qualities. To this nobleman my parents are vassals, of humble and low degree, but still so rich that if nature had gifted them with birth equal to their wealth, I should have been nobly born, nor should I now have suffered these strange misfortunes. They are but farmers and plain people, and what they mostly prized was their daughter, whom they thought to be the best treasure they had. As they had no other child, they were almost too affectionate and indulgent, and I was their spoilt child. And as I was the mistress of their affection, so also was I mistress of all their goods. I kept the reckoning of their oil-mills, their wine-presses, their cattle and sheep, their beehives—in a word, of all that a rich farmer like my father could possess. I engaged and dismissed the servants, and was the stewardess of the estate. The spare hours that were left from the management of the farm I spent with the needle, the lace cushion, and the distaff, or else I would read some good hook or practise upon my harp.
"This was the life that I led in my father's house. And though I seldom went abroad except to church, yet it seems I had attracted the eyes of the duke's younger son, Don Fernando, for so he was called."
No sooner did she mention the name of Don Fernando than Cardenio's face changed colour, and the curate and barber noticing it, feared that he would burst out into one of his mad fits. But he did nothing but tremble and remain silent, and the girl continued her story.